HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS OUTCOMES OF UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OF NIGERIA, MEXICO AND MAURITIUS
20 March 2014
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria, Mexico and Mauritius. The President of the Council said that according to information received, Nigeria had received 219 recommendations, of which it had accepted 184 and noted the rest; Mexico had received 176 recommendations of which it supported 166, provided additional clarifications on two and noted eight; and Mauritius had received 150 recommendations of which it accepted 114 and noted 36.
Umunna Humphrey Orijako, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that, of 219 received recommendations, Nigeria accepted 175, rejected 10 and deferred 34 for further consideration. The recommendations dealing with the abolition of the death penalty and early marriage were not accepted, but the National Assembly had passed the Child Rights Act which prohibited the marriage of any girl-child below the age of 18. Harmful traditional practices were deeply rooted in ancient beliefs and cultural practices and Nigeria was using both legislation and advocacy to sensitize the people to their dangerous health and social implications. The security forces fighting Boko Haram were under strict directives to operate within the dictates of global best practices and principles of humanitarian and international human rights laws.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers noted the progress Nigeria had made in its human rights situation and were pleased that the rights of the child were at the centre of development efforts. Speakers condemned the increased levels of terrorist violence in Northern Nigeria and stressed the importance of investigating allegations of abuse by the security forces and of allowing independent humanitarian access to places of detention. Nigeria should implement a comprehensive human rights-based approach in fighting terrorism, improve access to sexual and reproductive health, combat corruption, and ensure the protection and enjoyment of the right of minorities.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria.
Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Chad spoke on Nigeria. Also taking the floor were Centre for Reproductive Rights, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Amnesty International, Jubilee Campaign, World Evangelical Alliance, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, and Association for Progressive Communications.
Juan Jose Gomez Robledo, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, said that the recommendations received full consideration from a comprehensive and representative working group, which also identified concrete actions that different institutions should undertake for their implementation. The voice of the international community had been clear: Mexico should continue to consolidate its human rights policy on the basis of changes in legislation and policies implemented in recent years, in particular constitutional reforms on the justice system in 2008 and on human rights in 2011.
Lia Limon Garcia, Vice-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Interior of Mexico, said Mexico had accepted all recommendations related to military justice, enforced disappearances, protection of human rights defenders, eradication of violence against women, education, sexual and reproductive rights, public safety, combating impunity and combating gender-based stereotypes. The actions taken domestically to comply with those recommendations were symbolic of the compliance of Mexico with its international human rights obligations and the desire to build a human rights-based society.
During the discussion on the Universal Periodic Review of Mexico, speakers said that through its constitutional reform, the Government had sent strong messages to its population and the international community on its determination to enhance human rights. Speakers appreciated the positive developments and progress achieved in combating hunger, poverty and social exclusion; in eliminating discrimination on various grounds, particularly for women, persons with disabilities and migrants; and in reforming electoral law. Speakers raised several issues of concern which included the systematic use of torture by police and armed forces, the practice of arraigo which facilitated arbitrary detention, and the use of torture and high rates of maternal mortality.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mexico.
Speaking were Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, Djibouti, India, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and Algeria. The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: World Organization Against Torture, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juanez, Save the Children International, Tlachinollan, Action Canada for Population and Development, Amnesty International, Jubilee Campaign, and Grupo de informacion en Reproducion Elegida.
Israhyananda Dhalladoo, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Mauritius highly valued the recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review, which related to domestic violence, racial discrimination, review of legislation on child protection, improvement of the situation of working migrants, and the ratification of certain international human rights instruments. The National Action Plan 2012-2020 already addressed most of those recommendations and put emphasis on greater realization of economic, social and cultural rights, the strengthening of women’s rights and safeguarding the rights of vulnerable persons, including the elderly, children and persons with disabilities.
Speakers noted positive steps Mauritius had taken to strengthen and consolidate the institutional framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, particularly in the areas of gender equality, youth empowerment, education, and persons with disabilities. They welcomed the acceptance of the recommendations to ratify the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability, to improve emphasis and transparency in tackling gender-based violence, to implement strategies to combat poverty, and to ensure justice for vulnerable groups.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mauritius.
India, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, United Kingdom, Algeria, Angola and Botswana took the floor on Mauritius. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and European Disability Forum also spoke.
During its midday meeting, the Council will consider the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Jordan, Malaysia and Central African Republic.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Nigeria (A/HRC/25/6)
UMUNNA HUMPHREY ORJIAKO, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations at Geneva, said that during the review in October 2013 Nigeria had accepted 175 of the 219 recommendations it received. A further 10 were rejected, 34 were deferred for further consideration and 25 recommendations dealing mostly with abolition of the death penalty had not been accepted. The death penalty fell within the joint jurisdiction of the Federal Government and the 36 State Governments. Section 33 (1) of the constitution of Nigeria provided that every person had a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life save in the execution of a sentence of a court in criminal matters. Accordingly, both the Criminal and Penal Codes of the 26 States provided for the death sentence of any person who committed murder or culpable homicide, thus making the death penalty a valid part of Nigerian Law. Consequently, as much as it acknowledged the desirability of a moratorium on the death penalty, it was not feasible to implement at this time under a Federal System that guaranteed a measure of autonomy to its federating units. On the issue of the death penalty and life sentence for persons below the age of 18, Mr. Orjiako said under Nigeria’s relevant criminal statutes no person could be sentenced to death by any court if they were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the offence. The courts had strenuously applied those provisions even when heinous crimes had been committed by persons under the age of 18.
Recommendation 137.8 enjoyed Nigeria’s support and acceptance, Mr. Orjiako said, as Nigeria was aware that harmful traditional practices were deeply rooted in ancient traditional beliefs and cultural practices, which could not be exorcised overnight. It was using both legislation and advocacy to sensitize people to the dangerous health and social implications. Nigeria was unable to accept recommendations 137.26 and 137.27 on the issue of early marriage as marriage fell within the concurrent jurisdiction of the Federal Government and the State Governments. At the Federal level, the National Assembly had passed the Child Rights Act which prohibited the marriage of any girl-child younger than 18 years. Nigeria restated that in spite of the complexities of fighting a terrorist insurgency that used civilians as human shields to commit heinous crimes, the Nigerian Security agencies fighting Boko Haram were under strict directives to operate within the dictates of global best practices and a rule of engagement that adhered to applicable humanitarian and international human rights laws. So far, it could be confirmed that these directives were being respected.
Senegal welcomed Nigeria’s determination to cooperate with the Universal Periodic Review and commended its commitment to work to strengthen, promote and protect human rights. Nigeria should consolidate its gains particularly in the framework of the accepted recommendations.
South Sudan was pleased that Nigeria had accepted its recommendations to support the work of the inter-religious council and so was contributing to strengthen society. South Sudan also recognized the challenges Nigeria faced in encountering terrorist activities.
Sri Lanka noted the progress in Nigeria in relation to human rights and said it was pleased that the right of the child was at the centre of development efforts. Sri Lanka also commended the efforts to ensure security in the country and so guarantee the right to life to its citizens.
Sudan appreciated Nigeria’s acceptance of a large number of recommendations. Many recommendations received were sensitive issues for Nigerian society; the cultural, societal and religious features of each nation must be taken into consideration by States when issuing recommendations.
Togo congratulated Nigeria on its cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and for having accepted the majority of the recommendations, including those made by Togo. It encouraged Nigeria to continue efforts towards the abolition of the death penalty.
United Kingdom welcomed Nigeria’s cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review process and strongly welcomed its acceptance of the United Kingdom’s recommendation. Concern was expressed over the increase in terrorism in the north of the country, which was strongly condemned. The Government was encouraged to ensure that the rights of all minorities were respected.
United States noted Nigeria’s resolve to promote good governance and encouraged it to make every effort to ensure credible, peaceful and transparent elections. The United States remained deeply concerned by serious human rights violations in Nigeria and urged the Government to implement a comprehensive human rights-based approach in fighting terrorism.
Uzbekistan welcomed Nigeria’s constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and noted that the majority of recommendations made were accepted, including its recommendation on continuing efforts to improve living standards. Carrying out measures based on the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review would contribute to the human rights system in Nigeria.
Venezuela highlighted the efforts of Nigeria to improve the housing situation and expressed appreciation for its commitment to progressively implement its Universal Periodic Review recommendations. Nigeria should continue to implement social programmes and policies to ensure that those most in need were included.
Algeria welcomed Nigeria’s determination to strengthen democratic process and promote the culture of human rights through a range of policies and programmes. Algeria called on the international community to continue to support Nigeria in the implementation of its priorities.
Angola commended Nigeria’s efforts to protect the rights of women and other vulnerable groups, particularly persons with disabilities. Angola called on the Human Rights Council to adopt the outcome report on Nigeria.
Benin noted progress in Nigeria with satisfaction and urged it to step up the efforts to implement the recommendations. Benin also called on the international community to support the efforts of Nigeria to combat terrorism.
Botswana welcomed Nigeria’s decision to accept many of the recommendations made, and was convinced Nigeria would ensure full implementation of them. Its efforts, especially in the area of health, were applauded.
Burkina Faso congratulated Nigeria for drawing up its Universal Periodic Review report in a participatory and inclusive way. Progress made was noted in terms of access to housing, combating terrorism, human trafficking and torture inter alia.
Chad thanked Nigeria for accepting its recommendation and recommended that the Human Rights Council adopt the outcome report. Nigeria was wished every success in implementation of accepted recommendations.
Centre for Reproductive Rights drew attention to inadequate access to family planning services, information and abortion in Nigeria. Only 14 per cent of Nigerian women used any form of contraception and over one quarter of women and adolescents between the ages of 15 and 49 had an unmet need for effective contraception; many had sought unsafe abortions, with deadly consequences.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said that the prohibition on violence against persons was drafted as a response to the consistent failure of Nigerian authorities to adopt and implement legislation that addressed and prevented sexual violence. The Senate was urged to promptly pass the bill. Nigeria was commended for its commitment to the Arms Trade Treaty and leading work on disarmament.
International Humanist and Ethical Union said that the Nigerian delegation attempted to justify denying equality for homosexuals on the grounds that the integration of sexual orientation into universally recognised human rights had failed. It was deplorable that Nigeria had not only failed to address rampant homophobia but had also enshrined it in its domestic law.
Amnesty International noted the sharp increase in attacks by gunmen, suspected of being Boko Haram members, resulting in numerous deaths in north-eastern Nigeria. It welcomed Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations, including to provide accountability for violations. It expressed concern about Nigeria’s law criminalising same-sex relationships.
Jubilee Campaign spoke about freedom of religion and belief, saying that the adoption of a Sharia penal code in some states had impacted on the rights of the non-Muslim population and led to worsening attacks by Boko Haram. Nigeria must ensure that individual states respected freedom of religion and belief and compensate religious groups deprived of places of worship.
World Evangelical Alliance said Nigeria was a leader in Africa and should be a leader in Africa in the area of human rights. During its first Universal Periodic Review, Nigeria had received the recommendation to strengthen efforts to eradicate the corruption, but that recommendation had not yet been implemented.
International Lesbian and Gay Association said that innocent Nigerians had been arrested and abused because of their perceived sexuality and those incidents were on the increase since the signing of the Presidential Act on same-sex marriages. The State must protect the rights of all and must investigate all cases of violence on the basis of perceived gender or sexual identity.
Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme welcomed the reforms in the area of economic, social and cultural rights and said that Nigeria had been able to turn some dark pages from its history. Nigeria should promote inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue in order to strengthen social cohesion.
Association for Progressive Communications welcomed the acceptance by Nigeria the recommendations to combat violence against women and protect the activities of human rights defenders and civil society organizations. Similar recommendations had been accepted during its 2009 review, but no progress had been noted in practice.
UMUNNA HUMPHREY ORJIAKO, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations at Geneva, expressed sincere appreciation to all stakeholders for their participation and suggestions on how Nigeria’s human rights profile could be improved. Nigeria was fully committed to deepening its democracy through free and fair elections. Even though it did not wish to revisit the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons at this time, it was reiterated that Nigeria had not adopted a policy of hunting any group of its citizens or residents in the country. What had come about as the anti-gay marriage law was strictly the outcome of a democratic process, which no democracy could ignore. Nigeria’s position on the death penalty was clearly stated. Freedom of religion was guaranteed in the constitution, and the Federal and State Governments and all stakeholders worked very closely in various inter-religious platforms to ensure religious harmony in the country. The issue of corruption was a universal problem and all efforts were being made to ensure the reduction and ultimate elimination of it. On freedom of the press, it was categorically stated that Nigeria was arguably one of the freest countries in terms of press freedom both on and offline.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Mexico
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Mexico (A/HRC/25/7)
JUAN JOSE GOMEZ ROBLEDO, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, said that Mexico had sought to increase the capacity of the Council so that it could contribute to human right situations in all countries. One of the main tools of the Council was the Universal Periodic Review, not only because of its universal nature but also because it provided opportunities for a participatory process and a comprehensive evaluation and follow-up. In consistence with Mexico’s commitment with human rights the recommendations had received full consideration from a comprehensive and representative working group, composed of representatives of the federal government, judicial and legislative authorities, state governments, as well as civil society, in order to identify concrete actions that different institutions should undertake for their implementation. The human rights situation in Mexico could not be understood without taking into account the role of civil society. Mexico assumed in the context of this exercise work with civil society organizations to identify relevant mechanisms of dialogue and partnership.
A relevant aspect of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review was the focus on the implementation of former recommendations. Almost half of the recommendations received by Mexico concerned the need to make further progress on work already underway, taking the necessary steps to organise legal standards which were already in place. The voice of the international community had been clear: Mexico should continue to consolidate its human rights policy on the basis of changes in legislation and policies implemented in recent years, in particular, constitutional reforms on the justice system in 2008 and on human rights in 2011. Among other measures, the Mexican Senate had withdrawn reservations to five international human rights instruments, including on the Inter-American Convention on forced disappearances. Another significant achievement concerned the acceptance of recommendations on military justice. However, in full observance of the national and international legal framework, it had not been possible to implement a small number of recommendations. Mexico reiterated its commitment to human rights and to implement national measures to fulfil its international obligations and standards.
LIA LIMON GARCIA, Vice-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Interior of Mexico, said that the new constitutional and legal framework in place since 2011 had consolidated State policy in the area of human rights. Mexico was committed to forging a human rights-based society and was breaking new grounds in education, electoral processes, transparency, budgets and telecommunications. The democracy impulse was directly linked to the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations. The Universal Periodic Review was a democratic exercise which changed the way in which human rights were considered and it had broadened international cooperation in this regard. Mexico had reviewed all recommendations it had received during its second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review and this process included, for the first time, a space for exchanging ideas on their implementation. The participation of Mexico in the second cycle coincided with the elaboration of the National Programme for Human Rights 2014-2018 and this Programme had tied international recommendations with public policies in order to achieve a concrete impact on the daily life of citizens.
The accepted recommendations promoted the protection of vulnerable groups from various forms of discrimination and Mexico would continue to put in place policies and programmes to protect the rights of migrants, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and women. Mexico had accepted all recommendations related to military justice, enforced disappearances, protection of human rights defenders, eradication of violence against women, education, sexual and reproductive rights, public safety, combating impunity and combating gender-based stereotypes. The actions taken domestically to comply with those recommendations were symbolic of the compliance of Mexico with its international human rights obligations and the desire to build a human rights-based society.
Burkina Faso commended Mexico on its second Universal Periodic Review cycle. Note was taken of reforms in terms of the Constitution and the strengthening of the Human Rights Commission. Burkina Faso shared Mexico’s view on education and human rights training. It appreciated progress made in this area and in the area of protecting migrants, among others.
China welcomed Mexico’s commitment to continue to implement recommendations that it had accepted. It was thanked for continuing to give top priority to address poverty in its national development plan. Mexico was also thanked for its efforts to promote legislation and action to remove discrimination.
Cuba thanked Mexico for the in-depth explanation given on recommendations addressed to it in the Working Group. However, significant challenges remained for the country in the field of human rights. Cuba recommended the adoption of the outcome report of Mexico and wished it every success.
Djibouti said that through its constitutional reform, the Mexican Government had sent strong messages to its population and the international community on its determination to enhance human rights. Mexico’s cooperation with the Special Procedures of the Council was appreciated. Mexico was wished every success for its activities in promoting a culture of human rights.
India appreciated the receptive and constructive manner in which Mexico had participated in the review process, and thanked the Government for accepting the recommendation on marginalised groups in society. Mexico had accepted many recommendations covering a wide range of human rights and thanked the delegation for the additional information.
Libya highlighted the importance of Mexico’s efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights and its work in the Council. Libya appreciated the positive developments and progress achieved in combating discrimination against women and reforming electoral law, among others. Libya welcomed Mexico’s acceptance of the majority of the recommendations
Malaysia appreciated the openness and transparent approach demonstrated by Mexico during its review process, in particular with regards to the situation of persons with disabilities. Malaysia was pleased to note that its recommendations in the area of persons with disabilities had been accepted and lauded Mexico for its continuous efforts to protect human rights.
Morocco welcomed the inclusive and participatory approach followed by Mexico to define its position on the recommendations received. Morocco commended the acceptance of recommendations on institutional reform, including those presented by Morocco concerning the institutional reforms of 2011. Morocco welcomed Mexico’s efforts to maintain a dialogue with the Council on the implementation of the recommendations.
Venezuela commended Mexico for providing detailed information during its Universal Periodic Review which ensured productive discussion, particularly concerning the launching of a national anti-hunger campaign to eradicate hunger among the seven million people suffering from this problem and to ensure access to social protection to over 150 million others.
Viet Nam appreciated the acceptance of many recommendations by Mexico, including those proposed by Viet Nam concerning social inclusion and non-discrimination. Mexico’s firm commitment meant that it would make further efforts to ensure human rights for all its people and Viet Nam asked the Council to adopt the outcome of Mexico.
Algeria welcomed the acceptance of recommendations made by Algeria on ensuring the better protection of children from violence related to crime, and on strengthening measures to address human trafficking.
World Organization against Torture said that since the last Universal Periodic Review of Mexico, the practice of torture and other ill and cruel treatment and punishment continued to be systematic in nature and was carried out by the police and armed forces to obtain information and confessions. Another issue of concern was the practice of arraigo which facilitated arbitrary detention and the use of torture.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said that there were continued patterns of violence and discrimination, which were deep rooted in Mexico’s society. Women that were involved in the defense of human rights faced serious threats. High levels of corruption were reported in national institutions.
Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Asociacion Civil, said that the situation in the country had deteriorated and the so-called war on organized crime had had an impact on the enjoyment of human rights. Despite significant legal progress made, violations of human rights had not ended and access to justice continued to require action.
Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez said that it was vital that the Council provided opportune and appropriate follow up to the issue of torture in Mexico. It was nothing new that torture was systematically practiced in Mexico. The acceptance in criminal trials of evidence obtained under torture had been going on for decades.
Save the Children International welcomed the acceptance of the recommendation calling for the swift incorporation in the State and Federal legislation of international instruments ratified by Mexico. Mexico was urged to engage in a review and reform process of all legislation to ensure compliance with international standards for children’s rights, in line with the 2011 constitutional reform.
Tlachinollan said that Mexico was a country of differences and contrasts, where the federal normative frameworks contrasted with the incapacity of the State to implement in places like Guerrero. Discriminatory practices and the lack of harmonisation in the judicial framework continued. Despite the creation of a national consultation with indigenous people, secondary laws continued to violate rights on an every-day level.
Action Canada for Population and Development welcomed the Mexican Government’s determination to carry out work towards the implementation of recommendations, particularly regarding vulnerable groups. Mexico should note that gender stereotypes continued to be strong and to pose obstacles against the right to non-discrimination and equality; discrimination on the basis of gender identity was not legally recognised.
Amnesty International acknowledged that Mexico often played an important role in promoting international human rights initiatives and facilitating access in Mexico to international human rights organizations, however, this commitment must be matched by action at the national level to protect and promote rights. Amnesty expressed concerns about the prevalence of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, and excessive use of force by security forces and the police.
Jubilee Campaign raised concerns at the continuing violations of the right to freedom of religious belief; religious discrimination was a persistent problem given the contrast between the Constitution and local autonomy, at the expense of the rights of religious minorities. Religious freedom in Mexico was also compromised by the activities of criminal groups, and the practice of extortion and retaliation against religious leaders and those who opposed.
Grupo de informacion en Reproducion Elegida paid tribute to the acceptance of the recommendations concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights, which would contribute to reducing maternal mortality. Abortion was the second leading cause of maternal mortality in Mexico. It was vital to include civil society in the implementation of this recommendation.
LIA LIMON GARCIA, Vice-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Interior of Mexico, said in concluding remarks that the use of arraigo had been reduced by 50 per cent in 2013 compared to 2011 and 2012, and that the time a person could be held in arraigo had been reduced by two-thirds. In addition, there was a new practice by which the Attorney General for military affairs referred all cases involving human rights violations to civilian courts. On the issue of discrimination on various grounds, Ms. Limon Garcia said that Mexico was working with various organizations to draw a protocol that would guarantee consultation with indigenous peoples on all development projects that would impact their rights. Tomorrow, Mexico would issue a decree to guarantee the protection from homophobic acts.
JUAN JOSE GOMEZ ROBLEDO, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, made it clear that Mexico had a policy of total openness to international scrutiny. In a few days, it would host a visit from the Special Rapporteur on torture and would be as always willing to engage in dialogue with the Special Procedure mandate holders.
LIA LIMON GARCIA, Vice-Minister for Human Rights, Ministry of Interior of Mexico, referred to the creation of a mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists and continuous work was being done in the area.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mexico.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Mauritius
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Mauritius (A/HRC/25/8)
ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Mauritius had received 150 recommendations during its Universal Periodic Review, of which it had accepted 114 and would provide its views on 36. Mr. Dhalladoo reaffirmed the unrelenting commitment of Mauritius to promote human rights and to engage constructively in their protection. The priority of the Government of Mauritius was to provide the people with a quality of life based on human dignity, equality of treatment, economic empowerment and social justice. Mauritius continued to build its nation where the welfare of citizens remained at the very core of development. During its Universal Periodic Review, the recommendations related to domestic violence, racial discrimination, review of legislation on child protection, improvement of the situation of working migrants, and ratification of certain international human rights instruments. Mauritius highly valued those recommendations and gave them highest consideration in its pursuit for human rights. The National Action Plan 2012-2020 already addressed most of those recommendations and put emphasis on greater realization of economic, social and cultural rights, the strengthening of women’s rights, and safeguarding the rights of vulnerable persons, including the elderly, children and persons with disabilities.
Mauritius had adopted measures to implement a policy of inclusive education with the view to addressing the previous lacuna relating to the education of children with disabilities. The aim was to achieve parity in the Government funding for disabled and able-bodied children. The process was in place to review the Policy Paper and Plan of Action on Disability in the context of the post-2015 inclusive development agenda of the United Nations. With regard to the protection of domestic violence, an Advisory Committee had been established to reinforce the legal framework for the protection of victims. All death sentences had been commuted to penal servitude for life and the Constitution had not yet been amended to abolish the death penalty as the amendments had to be voted on by at least three quarters of the members of the National Assembly. Mauritius would continue to press for the early and unconditional return of the Chagos Archipelago to its effective control, whilst firmly supporting the right of return of Mauritian citizens of Chagossian origin and other Mauritians to the Archipelago. The question of reparation to victims must be addressed by the United Kingdom which had forcibly removed the former inhabitants of the Archipelago.
India congratulated Mauritius on the completion of its Universal Periodic Review. Mauritius was commended for its laudable progress in the promotion and protection of human rights through consolidation of the institutional framework and efforts in the areas of gender equality, youth empowerment, and persons with disabilities, among others.
Libya welcomed the very positive participation of the delegation of Mauritius and highly commended its positive response to recommendations. Libya thanked Mauritius for the positive steps taken in order to help promote the institutions that had to address the promotion and protection of human rights, particularly those related to persons with disabilities.
Mauritania noted with satisfaction the constructive cooperation of the Government with the Council during the Universal Periodic Review process where it demonstrated its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. It hoped that the Council would be able to adopt the report and expressed wishes to Mauritius for success.
Morocco said that the fact that a majority of recommendations received had been accepted showed that Mauritius was committed to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It particularly welcomed the acceptance of a recommendation by Morocco. Strong and independent institutions in the country contributed to protecting the rights of all citizens in the country.
Mozambique said that it was remarkable that Mauritius had not rejected any of the recommendations and also welcomed the open invitation extended to all Special Procedure mandate holders. This attested to the open minded approach of the Government towards the realisation of human rights.
Namibia thanked the delegation for the detailed responses provided during the review process and welcomed the acceptance of all of the recommendations proposed by Namibia; it looked forward to further information on their implementation, encouraging the Government to continue to provide social services without discrimination.
Rwanda welcomed the constructive approach of Mauritius during the review process. Rwanda thanked the Government for the acceptance of its recommendation concerning gender-based violence and welcomed the progress made by the Government in the promotion of human rights. Rwanda recommended the adoption of the report.
Senegal had taken note of the additional information provided by Mauritius. Senegal applauded the Government’s commitment to the promotion of human rights and urged Mauritius to tackle all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, as part of the implementation of the recommendations emanating from the review.
Togo congratulated Mauritius for the progress made in the area of human rights and noted with satisfaction that it had accepted the recommendation to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The international community should support the efforts of Mauritius. Togo wished Mauritius all the best.
United Kingdom was impressed by the positive approach of Mauritius to the Universal Periodic Review process and welcomed the acceptance of its recommendation to improve emphasis and transparency in tackling gender-based violence. The Universal Periodic Review was not the correct forum for raising issues relating to territorial disputes. The United Kingdom did not recognize the sovereignty claim of the Mauritian Government.
Algeria noted the efforts in the area of education and encouraged Mauritius to continue with measures to combat discrimination. Algeria recommended that the Council adopted the report on the Universal Periodic Review of Mauritius.
Angola welcomed the commitment of Mauritius to cooperate with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and the acceptance of a large number of recommendations, particularly to implement strategies to combat poverty and to ensure justice for vulnerable groups.
Botswana said that as a model of democracy in Africa, Mauritius had continued to respect and advocate the rule of law and good governance, both at the national and international levels. The efforts of Mauritius aimed at addressing concerns of domestic violence and commitment to end gender-based violence by 2015 were commendable.
Burkina Faso paid tribute to the efforts of Mauritius to give optimal effect to human rights. It was particularly impressed by the launching in 2012 of a national human rights action plan for the period 2012-2020 and good measures for implementation of this plan. Mauritius was encouraged to spare no effort to overcome the challenges it still faced.
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomed steps taken towards non-discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation. Mauritius had indicated that further consultations were required on the issue of decriminalization of consensual same-sex conduct. What was its timetable for consultations on the matter?
European Disability Forum noted that Mauritius had made reservations to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Togo and Uruguay were thanked for echoing deep concern of persons with disabilities regarding these reservations. It was recommended that these reservations be withdrawn.
ISRAHYANANDA DHALLADOO, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed thanks and appreciation for the active participation of delegations in the review process. The delegation valued the comments, observations and recommendations and took notice of the issues raised by non-governmental organizations. Concerning the statement by the United Kingdom, the Government reiterated that the Chagos Archipelago formed an integral part of its territory, under both Mauritius law and international law. Mauritius did not recognise the so-called British Indian Ocean Territory and reiterated that it was the only country with jurisdiction to address issues of resettlement. Mauritius would take active efforts towards the implementation of recommendations and saw the ultimate goal of the review as the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground.
For use of the information media; not an official record